Twenty-one years ago I became the oldest of three and I gained a brother. I cannot believe the baby of the family can now legally drink and is a junior in college. I feel like I blinked and we all grew up overnight.
I kind of love that my brother’s birthday landed on election day, because I know he will be having a good time with all of his friends and fraternity brothers no matter the outcome of the election, and I think it’ll make it an even more memorable day for him.
When I graduated college, one of the biggest motivators for me moving home to my parents and staying in Colorado for so long was to build a relationship with my brother. We’re 7 academic years apart, and he was starting middle school when I was starting college. When I graduated I felt like I knew him because he was my brother, but I didn’t really know him because I lived most of the year in Montana going to school. Working on my relationship with my brother (and the rest of my family!) was so important to me when I graduated and I’m grateful I made that a priority.
I have so many funny memories of him from growing up. I love how he had us crying and laughing so hard as we pulled through the south gate of the Air Force Academy when we were moving to Colorado from Alabama. His story-telling and humorous perspective made the gate guard think we were all crazy I’m sure, but I’ll never forget how much joy that car was filled with because of him as we prepared to see our new home. I remember when he was a toddler and decided to give his favorite stuffed tiger a “bath” on my sister and I’s bedroom floor with toothpaste and baby powder. It made such a mess and I was so upset, until my mom showed me the humor in the situation. Now it just makes me laugh that he thought of two things he associated with cleaning and thought to clean his favorite treasure. I also remember when he was around the same age, maybe younger, and he dumped a giant tin of holiday popcorn out all over the living room floor. Instead of being upset about the wasted popcorn (that we’d been told not to touch without mom & dad!), my mom called us all in for a popcorn party and made it a funny memory. I also remember when my mom picked me up early from school freshman year of high school (I think we had finals or something) to go watch him as Alvin and the Chipmunks at his second grade class’s Christmas concert – he was Alvin and was so funny! I felt so special to have been able to be there for that. There are so many memories I have with my brother and I love that most of them are filled with laughter and sweetness.
My brother is easily one of the funniest people I know. He is also one of the most insightful and generous people I know. Growing up, his very favorite thing to do was to make us laugh. He is a great story-teller and loves to imitate my mom’s laugh to egg her on to the point of cry-laughing – something all of us girls in the family do! My brother is a great athlete and an example for me in making physical fitness and health a bigger priority in my life. He is smart, sincere, and loyal – traits I adore in him. My brother will be your best friend and strongest ally; I love how he maintains and protects his friendships. He also seems to innately know how to connect with people and has always been so great with classmates with special needs, young kids (he’s going to be the best dad someday) and the elderly. He makes everyone he focuses on feel special and I think that is such an undervalued character trait in our society.
There is so much I love and admire about my brother, and I love seeing the man he has become and is becoming as he grows older. I wish we lived closer so we could spend more time together. I feel really lucky to call him my brother and to be able to share the family we do.
All of this to say, I feel grateful he’s my brother and hope he has an amazing twenty-first birthday. Also, it’s fun to focus on someone and something so joyful on such a crazy day like election day 2016.
P.S. – Please vote today.